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04/14/2021 | Pressemitteilung

This is how streetcars and buses become pandemic-compatible

Public transport is indispensable for the transport revolution and for achieving the climate targets. But with the Corona pandemic, buses and trains have lost passengers. A research project at the University of Kassel now aims to identify ways to make public transport more pandemic-resistant.

Image: kaffeeeinstein/CC BY-SA 2.0.
How can streetcar journeys be made safe even in a pandemic - among other things, this is what the EMILIA project is investigating. Here is a scene from Bremen.

The team led by Prof. Dr. Carsten Sommer, head of the Department of Transportation Planning and Systems at the University of Kassel, is currently preparing a simulation of the spread of aerosols in vehicles. In this way, the researchers want to estimate the risk of infection in trains and buses and deduce how vehicles can be designed to reduce the risk of infection. The team also wants to determine what the pandemic means, for example, for the financing of public transportation, how fares should be designed and how customers should be approached, and make appropriate recommendations for action. In doing so, the scientists want to pay particular attention to the possibilities offered by digitization.

In mid-April, 3,000 randomly selected citizens of Kassel will be asked by letter to take part in a survey on mobility in Kassel. The research group is also examining how staggering school start times would affect vehicle utilization and the risk of contagion. The German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) is funding the EMILIA research project with approximately 1.3 million euros for the next three years.

"The Covid 19 pandemic has changed the mobility behavior of the population, which is hitting public transport and efforts to sustainably transform the transport system hard," Sommer describes it. "During the spring 2020 phase of widespread public restrictions, demand on public transportation dropped by as much as 90 percent. In order to fulfill its mission as part of the provision of public services and an important component of the transformation of the transport sector toward sustainable mobility for all, public transport urgently needs to become pandemic-compatible. This is important for transport transformation and climate protection goals." Sommer: "All people should be able to use public transport with a good feeling."


Prof. Dr.-Ing. Carsten Sommer
University of Kassel
Department of Transportation Planning and Systems
Tel.: 0561 804-3381

Marissa Reiserer
University of Kassel
Department of Transportation Planning and Systems
Tel.: 0561 804-3279